No space for predators!

BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — Police here are urging parents and guardians to be vigilant in the protection of their children amid worrying concerns stemming from the alleged buggery of a toddler and rape of a teenager in recent weeks.

Head of the St Elizabeth police Acting Superintendent Coleridge Minto raised alarm following the arrest of a farmer, 26, charged with buggery against a four-year-old relative in relation to a July 22 incident.

The accused made his first court appearance in the St Elizabeth Parish Court in Santa Cruz on Wednesday and was remanded to reappear on September 11.

“We have found in a number of cases that the accused in the matters relating to rape are persons who are either relatives or closely related to the victims, so we [are] asking parents/guardians, particularly those who have custody and control over their children, to pay attention to any change in the behaviour of their children and to ensure that all matters are reported to the police,” Minto stressed.

On Wednesday, Minto, following a series of operations in town centres in St Elizabeth, encouraged the public to report cases of abuse against children to the police.

“…We have no space for persons who are preying on our children. These are children; we expect that they should enjoy their childhood life and so we are asking persons who have information relating to any child who they suspect to be abused to report it to the Black River Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), police 119 or the nearest police station,” he said outside the Black River Courthouse.

The police chief added that 14 cases of rape have been reported to the police since the start of the year.

“…This is one more than in 2022, where we had 13 reported cases. The clear-up [arrests] for this year is much better than last year. We have nine matters cleared versus five for 2022,” Minto said.

He reiterated the worrying trend of children being among the victims.

“Of the 14 cases that have been reported, some of the matters involve children, and so we want to encourage persons who are victims of sexual offences to come forward. In this division we treat matters relating to this very sensitive but very seriously,” said Minto.

He pointed out that detectives are now probing the alleged rape of a teenager.

“There is another case we are treating with, which occurred earlier this week, where a 14-year-old was raped and that matter is being investigated now and the case file is being prepared,” he said.

“We note at this particular time during the summer that the cases of rape tend to be higher than other periods throughout the year, and so we are asking our guardians/parents to pay special attention to our children and to report the matters to the police,” added Minto.